When it comes to selling homes, proper pricing may be important but it is only half of the equation. Another factor that will affect whether a home is sold or not is marketing. This is why real estate agents also need to learn and employ some marketing techniques that are specifically tailored to their industry.
If an agent isn’t employing real estate marketing techniques, chances are the properties he or she is selling won’t be going anywhere and the end result is an unhappy seller. The truth is that these marketing tricks don’t really need a radical change in mindset, just some awareness that there are strategies that directly and indirectly affect the likelihood of getting a house sold.
Print and Traditional Advertising for Real Estate Marketing
Some agents avoid print advertising and traditional real estate marketing, on the mistaken belief that they are outmoded and no longer provide acceptable results. However, many real estate agents still employ these marketing techniques, because even though there are new alternatives, these traditional methods still work well enough to justify their use:
In a lot of locations, newspapers are still very powerful and have a large number of readers. People are still reading newspapers, particularly in large business districts where people tend to pick up newspapers and read them on the commute or while on their morning coffee break. That’s not even counting places where the lack of public Internet access means people just can’t rely on their portable devices for keeping up to date while on the go. Most newspapers have a real estate section that people tend to check out when looking for homes that are for sale, as well as other real estate information.
Additionally, many newspapers have an online version that reflect their print version’s content, right down to the classified ads and the real estate listings. So getting your advertisements on a newspaper could mean that you end up marketing to both their offline and online readership, which is a smart use of one’s advertising budget.
Local Gazettes and Publications
Some communities have their own local newspapers or newsletters. While the reach is significantly smaller compared to a national publication, there is still some solid value in advertising at these local publications. For starters, the advertising rates are significantly cheaper due to their smaller reach (some will even allow you to submit listings for free.) and second, the audience in these local publications are highly targeted, namely residents that are living in the community or people interested in living in the community. So if someone is interested in your real estate listing, it means they are interested in it for the right reasons and you’re likely to attract buyers who have a clear idea of what they want.
Despite being an old medium, television is still one of the most powerful ways of getting a message across to an audience. If you’re trying to market or advertise something, you’re bound to reach a large swathe of potential customers if you advertise on television.
However, one thing to keep in mind that TV ads on popular stations, particularly if you want the ads to run on primetime, are VERY expensive. So marketing real estate through TV will only be a good idea if you think the sales you are going to get will justify the ad spend.
Alternatively, you can try to look at cable shows and small programs with limited viewership. Many of them have affordable advertising rates due to their limited reach. Some of these programs may be worth it depending on their audience. For example, there are lifestyle shows or home improvement shows that have the same audience that you want to target when selling homes.
Direct Mail Marketing
Another old, yet still viable channel for real estate marketing and advertising is direct mail marketing. Sending postcards to a local neighborhood can be a great way of informing people that there is a home for sale near their neighborhood, and may even be a way of getting your contact details on people’s list of numbers to contact, should they find the need to buy a home sometime in the future.
Sending postcards en masse will cost money, of course, but the actual cost – even factoring in the manpower involved with mailing the postcards – is feasible and definitely lower than buying ad space on a newspaper or a TV show. A postcard also adds the kind of personal touch that many potential buyers look for as a sign that a real estate agent is worth trusting.
Real Estate Marketing through Online Channels
These days, real estate agents would be smart to incorporate (or even prioritize) the Internet in their marketing and advertising plans, mainly because majority of home buyers these days start their search online. Additionally, the Internet transcends geographical barriers that would normally limit a real estate listing’s exposure. Not everything has to be local – there are people who are living overseas or in a faraway state that would want to migrate to a state where you have a property for sale, and the only way of reaching them right now is online.
It’s a given that real estate brokers these days all have a website, as it is pretty much a necessity for any company from any industry to build a presence online. However, one flaw is that it’s usually only the real estate broker company that has a website, their agents don’t have their own personal websites related to real estate.
Home buyers are generally more comfortable dealing with real estate agents that can be seen as an actual person, as opposed to big, faceless brand names so it stands to reason that they are more receptive to the website of a real estate agent than the massively commercialized corporate page of a broker.
Regularly Updated and Informative Blog
Even if the agent has a website devoted to real estate, the site should still go the extra mile and have an informative, regularly updated weblog. This will show the readers and potential home buyers that the agent is serious about the work, and the activity will make the home buyers confident that any inquiry they make will be responded to, as opposed to being ignored or unread when sent to websites that are already inactive.
Additionally, a weblog will also allow the agent to showcase his or her knowledge about the real estate business, as well as showcase any of the homes that are being sold. A prospective home buyer is more likely to go with agents that have expertise in the field, and those that can write informative pieces on the property they are selling.
High Resolution Photos
Of course, a home buyer will want to see what the home looks like, and the Internet makes that possible without spending too much time and effort on site visits. It is easy to preview homes simply by uploading photos of the property to a website. But to be effective, the photos need to be high quality and authentic. Nothing is worse than showing off a poor quality photo or one that is obviously photoshopped – buyers will take it to mean that there is something wrong with the property being offered and may avoid it out of fear of being scammed. An honest, attractive and high quality photo on the other hand, will inspire confidence and make potential home buyers more likely to purchase.
People love video, and the medium itself is powerful because it allows prospects to see the property more clearly compared to static photos. Advancements in technology also improve the experience, as home buyers can now sit in the comfort of their own home while watching a virtual tour of the property – there are ways to achieve this now without resorting to expensive software production, such as 360 video tours, video conference calls, and even Virtual Reality videos of a home.
Real estate and social media go together really well. Any real estate agent that doesn’t leverage social networks for their marketing and promotion is severely limiting their chances of success. Majority of potential home buyers nowadays will be active on at least one social network, so it helps to reach out to them through the following:
Easily the most popular social network around, it is safe to say that if a person is on social media, he or she has a Facebook account. The best real estate agents will use Facebook to create their own business page and will use it to showcase their property listings, but will also use it to build a community or relationships with prospective clients.
Facebook is also well-suited for real estate marketing because of its multimedia capabilities – uploading videos and pictures are fairly straightforward, and it also has a built in ad service that can be used for paid promotions. It is basically a one stop shop for agents that want to promote their listings on social media.
Twitter is fairly limited in its capabilities, and it is not likely that people are flocking to it when looking for real estate to buy, but it should be employed in support of any social media campaign because it helps build authority and presence online.
One thing to avoid is using Twitter to directly promote and sell property. Twitter users are not receptive to direct marketing, and will usually block or even report overly promotional Twitter pages. What a real estate agent should do is build a Twitter profile, but only use it personally. Just tie it to their other, more marketing-oriented social media pages. People who get to know the agent, particularly those who are eventually going to look for homes, will know how to follow the agent to other places.
As mentioned earlier, high quality photos are a great way of promoting property listings, so it stands to reason that a social network geared towards high quality photos would be perfect for the purpose of marketing real estate services. However, similar to Twitter, Pinterest isn’t exactly the first place that home buyers visit when looking for their ideal home. Instead, Pinterest should be used as a complement to other social networks.
There is also the added utilitarian value that Pinterest can be used as an image host. Just upload albums featuring the properties you want to list, add well-written descriptions and then link to it from your website or Facebook account. This creates a revolving door of traffic that will benefit all of your social media pages and your business in general.
Real estate agents should get a LinkedIN account, but it is important to make a distinction. LinkedIN is not the place for selling and promoting properties. Rather, it is for networking and meeting other industry people, and it is also meant for builing brand names. Create a page for the real estate business and use it to provide information about the agent and the business, but leave the direct promotion and advertising to other social networks.
One of the key differentiators between top real estate agents and the rest of them is high quality content curation. This is basically sorting through the vast amounts of content available online and then presenting it to an audience in an easier to digest form. In terms of real estate, content curation is extremely valuable because it helps prospective home owners weed through all the poor quality listings and focus more on choosing between the cream of the crop.
Now, this is valuable for real estate agents because the curated lists are where the prospective home buyers are, and if they’re not doing their own content curation, then there is very little chance that they are going to appear on someone else’s curated list.
Listly is a list creation service that is starting to become popular these days. The fact that it caters to a wide variety of topics and niches means that it can be used for real estate property listings as well. The only thing an agent needs to look out for is that there are tips that should be followed in order to stand out from all the other lists made in the service.
Similar to Listly, this is a user friendly curation tool that the most tech savvy agents are using in order to provide top list articles for specific niches. Learnist has the advantage of being geared towards novices and is pitched as an information repository, so it’s likely that people looking for information on real estate will be going to Learnist.
Tumblr is one of the most popular content curation sites on the Internet, and has a built-in audience that would put most other content curation sites to shame. It is at the moment catering more to age groups that are too young to buy homes, but this means that competition is still scarce, so Tumblr’s robust image, text, and community building tools are ripe for the use to create and promote real property listings.
If an agent took the advice above and built a presence on LinkedIN, then it’s only logical to also take advantage of LinkedIN’s content curation service, LinkedIN Pulse. Pulse is essentially a blog attached to a LinkedIN account. It can be a great real estate marketing tool, especially since its primary audience will be LinkedIN users, many of whom are industry influencers. You’re not likely to gain attention from thousands of prospective home buyers, but you may catch the eye of a new influencer looking for experts on real estate. The catch here is that LinkedIN’s community is very unforgiving to content that is low in quality, so Pulse is the worst place to publish spammy, poor quality content. Always put the best foot forward in Pulse.
Behance is similar to Tumblr, but with a built-in audience that is decidedly older and more mature, which means it is ideal for rela estate property-related content. In fact, there are many agents who have already flocked to the service and a mostly likely even more prospective home buyers using the service to find more information about properties and real estate.
Scoop It is similar to the services already mentioned above, with the main difference being that it is designed for quick creation of curated content lists, so it makes for a great complement to any of the services that an agent already uses. There are already numerous categories related to real estate on Scoop.It, so any agent looking to join will be in great company.
Storify stands out among other content curation services because of its “storybook” style presentation, and since visual appeal is important in real estate marketing, Storify automatically stands out and provides striking, visually appealing curated lists that will accentuate property listings in terms of aesthetics.
Real estate marketing is one of the most important aspects of success in the business of home selling, and like any discipline, there are strategies and tricks to real estate marketing that any individual should know in order to stand out among the competition. The information provided in this article should hopefully give both veteran and novice real estate agents a good idea of methods and venues that can enhance their campaigns, while saving a little bit on budget in the process.